Signing a Prenup Agreement

A prenuptuial agreement or “prenup” is a contract or agreement drawn up and signed by both parties before a marriage or civil partnership. That deals with who gets what and who is responsible for what in the event of a future separation.

What is the purpose of a prenuptial agreement ?

Prenups are popular with people who get married later in life as they are more likely to have their own assets, property and pension pots before getting married. This is one of the instances where a prenup agreement makes sense.

While it seems unromantic to think about what might happen if your relationship ends while it is only really getting started, there are a number of practical purposes for a prenup.

It documents how you will arrange things should your relationship break down, such as:

  • The division of assets
  • Property
  • Child arrangements (where relevant)

When to get a prenup

Here are the reasons people might consider a prenuptial agreement

1. There are assets that might be difficult to split because they belonged to you prior to the marriage. 

2. You could have children from a previous relationship and want to protect certain assets as part of their inheritance rights 

3. You may have received money from inheritance yourself that you want to protect

4. You may have businesses or investments that you would rather remain in control of should the relationship end. 

5. Your partner may have numerous debts prior to the marriage commencing that you would not want to be liable for in the event of a breakup.

What are the downsides to prenups?

It’s a difficult conversation to have with your partner prior to agreeing to spend the rest of your lives together. Explaining the reasons why you want a prenup could be difficult. You'll also need to be frank about your financial situation, including any savings and inheritance. This could also make for an uncomfortable conversation.

Is a pre-nuptial agreement legally binding?

UK courts commonly recognise prenups as as legally binding, however  they do have the power to overturn them if deemed unfair are particularly in the case of children.

Here are some of the ways to make the prenup to be legally binding:

  • It must be entered into freely by both parties
  • The agreement must be fair
  • It must be made at least 28 days before the wedding
  • It must have disclosure about financial circumstances
  • Both parties must have received independent legal advice 
  • It should not be deemed to be unfair on any children

In order for a prenup to stand up in court it's a good idea to seek legal advice to ensure the contents of the agreement are satisfactory in the event of a divorce. The agreement is more likely to be upheld if both parties have received independent legal advice.

Want to know whether a pre-nup agreement is right for you? Get in touch.

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